Ludwig Guttmann Biography : Family , Legacy and Honors

Ludwig Guttmann was a German-British neurologist who established the Stoke Mandeville Games know all about him in this article as like Ludwig Guttmann Biography, Family , Legacy , Honors

Sir Ludwig Guttmann CBE FRS was a German-British neurologist who established the Stoke Mandeville Games, the sporting event for people with disabilities (PWD) that evolved into the Paralympic Games, in England. A Jewish doctor, who had fled Third Reich just before the beginning of the Second war , he’s considered to be one among the founding fathers of organised physical activities for people with disabilities.

Early life and Family

Ludwig Guttmann was born on 3 July 1899 to a German-Jewish family in Tost, within what was then German-controlled Upper Silesia and is now Toszek in Poland. His family moved when he was three years old to the Silesian city of Königshütte where he passed his Abitur at the humanistic grammar school in 1917 before he was called up for military service.

Guttmann first encountered a patient with a toe injury in 1917, while he was volunteering at the Accident Hospital in Königshutte. The patient was a collier who later died of sepsis.Guttmann started his medical studies in April 1918 at the University of Breslau. He transferred to the University of Freiburg in 1919 and received his Doctorate of drugs in 1924.

By 1933, Guttmann was working in Breslau as a neurosurgeon and lecturing at the university. Guttmann learned from the pioneer of neurosurgery Otfrid Foerster at his research institute. Despite having worked successfully as first assistant to Foerster, Guttmann was expelled from his university appointment and his job in 1933 under the Nuremberg Laws and his title changed to “Krankenbehandler” (one who treats the sick). With the arrival of the Nazis in power, Jews were banned from practising medicine professionally and he was assigned to figure at the Breslau Jewish Hospital, where he became medical director in 1937.

Following the violent attacks on Jewish people and properties during Kristallnacht on 9 November 1938, Guttmann ordered his staff to admit any patients without question. the subsequent day he justified his decision on a case-by-case basis with the Gestapo. Out of 64 admissions, 60 patients were saved from arrest and deportation to concentration camps.

Escape to Britain

In early 1939, Guttmann and his family left Germany due to the Nazi persecution of the Jews. a chance for escape had come when the Nazis provided him with a visa and ordered him to visit Portugal to treat a lover of the Portuguese dictator António de Oliveira Salazar.

Guttmann was scheduled to return to Germany via London, when the Council for Assisting Refugee Academics (CARA) arranged for him to stay within the uk . He arrived together with his wife Else Samuel Guttmann and two children, a son, Dennis, and a daughter, Eva age 6 in Oxford, England, on 14 March 1939.CARA negotiated with British headquarters on their behalf, and gave Guttmann and his family £250 to assist settle in Oxford. Guttmann continued his spinal injury research at the Nuffield Department of Neurosurgery within the Radcliffe Infirmary.

For the primary few weeks after arrival the family resided within the Master’s Lodge of Balliol College until they moved into alittle dwelling in Lonsdale Road.Both children were offered free places by the headmistress of Greycotes School.The family were members of the Oxford Jewish community, and Eva remembers becoming friendly with Miriam Margolyes, now a famous actress.The Jewish community in Oxford was growing rapidly as a results of the influx of displaced academic Jews from Europe.With the outbreak of the Second war , Guttmann and his family stayed within the home of Lord Lindsay, CARA Councillor and Master of Balliol College.


Guttmann presenting trophy to Tony South at the 1968 Summer Paralympics in Tel Aviv
By 1952, quite 130 international competitors had entered the Stoke Mandeville Games. because the annual event continued to grow, the ethos and efforts by all those involved began to impress the organisers of the Olympic Games and members of the international community. At the 1956 Stoke Mandeville Games, Guttmann was awarded the Sir Thomas Fearnley Cup by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for his meritorious achievement in commission to the Olympic movement through the social and human value derived from wheelchair sports.

His vision of a world games, the equivalent of the Olympic Games themselves, was realised in 1960 when the International Stoke Mandeville Games were held alongside the official 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. Known at the time because the 9th Annual International Stoke Mandeville Games, and organised with the support of the planet Federation of Ex-servicemen.In 1961, Guttmann founded British Sports Association for the Disabled, which might later become referred to as English Federation of Disability Sport.

Ludwig Guttmann Legacy

Stoke Mandeville Stadium, the National Centre for Disability Sport within the uk , was developed by him alongside the hospital.
A specialist neurorehabilitation hospital in Barcelona, the Institut Guttmann [es], is known as in his honour.[24] The founding father of this, the primary rehabilitation clinic for paraplegics in Spain, was Guillermo González Gilbey, who himself suffered from paraplegia and made great progress in England with Ludwig Guttmann.

In June 2012, a life-sized cast-bronze statue of Guttmann was unveiled at Stoke Mandeville Stadium as a part of the run up to the London 2012 Summer Paralympics and Olympic Games. After the Games, it had been moved to its permanent home at the National Spinal Injuries Centre.Guttmann’s daughter, Eva Loeffler, was appointed the mayor of the London 2012 Paralympic Games athletes’ village.

In August 2012, the BBC broadcast the simplest of Men, a TV film about Guttmann’s work on Stoke Mandeville during and after the Second war . The film, written by Lucy Gannon, starred Eddie Marsan as Dr. Guttmann and Rob Brydon together of the seriously injured patients, who got a purpose in life by the doctor.The Sir Ludwig Guttmann Centre is an NHS facility providing GP, Orthopaedic and Sports and Exercise Medicine outpatient services also as imaging on the location of the 2012 Olympic village.

The Sir Ludwig Guttmann Lectureship was established by the International Medical Society of Paraplegia (now ISCoS) to acknowledge Guttmann’s pioneering work and lifelong contribution to medulla spinalis care.

The Ludwig Guttmann Prize of the German Medical Society for Paraplegia is awarded for “excellent scientific add the sector of clinical research on medulla spinalis injury”.In 2019 the National Paralympic Heritage Centre, alittle accessible museum, was opened at Stoke Mandeville Stadium celebrating the birthplace of the Paralympics, sharing the collections of the first Paralympic Movement and therefore the central role played by Professor Sir Ludwig Guttmann.On July 3, 2021, Google showed Doodle on its homepage for celebrating Ludwig Guttmann’s 122nd Birthday.

Ludwig Guttmann Honours

As “Neurological Surgeon responsible of the Spinal Injuries Centre at the Ministry of Pensions Hospital, Stoke Mandeville”, he was appointed Officer of the Order of British Empire (OBE) within the 1950 King’s Birthday Honours.[30] On 28 June 1957, he was made an Associate Officer of the Venerable Order of Saint John.He was promoted to Commander of the Order of British Empire (CBE) in 1960, and he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1966.

On 24 October 2013, a commemorative plaque was unveiled by the Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR) at the National Spinal Injuries Centre to honour Guttmann’s life and work. As a lively member of the AJR, he had served on the board for over 25 years.On 3 July, 2021, he was honoured by Google with a Google Doodle.